1092 days was a significant amount of time that seemed to go on forever. The significance of 1092 days is that this is the amount of time it would take me to recover and prepare for another Ironman race after Ironman Australia in 2010. Yes it is a bit longer than the traditional 4 – 6 weeks it normally takes to feel like a normally functioning human being.
There were times I thought that I would never be able to compete in an Ironman race ever again. Struggling to walk without pain for 2 years, having seen a laundry list of people that included:- 3 different sports doctors, 2 podiatrists, 2 physiotherapists & 1 foot surgeon. Numerous injections, MRI’s, x-rays, & countless physio treatments later, there was light at the end of the tunnel.
Melbourne Ironman, Sunday the 24th March 2013, was the culmination of a lot of persistence and hard work which saw me line up with 2200 other athletes to test themselves against one of the toughest tests you can put your body through. A 3.8km swim, 180km cycle then a 42km run.
The day started with a less than ideal wind churning water so much so, that the already modified swim course was cut down to a 1.5km swim. At first I felt a bit ripped off, as it was not going to be the traditional 3.8km swim. But after having swam the 1.5km swim being kicked, punched, landed on top of and generally beat up (more so than usual) for the whole thing I had second thoughts. It was as tough a swim, in some of the worst conditions I think I have ever swam in. After getting out of the water about 100m down the beach made my way back to transition for a reasonably quick change over onto the bike.
It was a precession for the first 20km’s, with lots of bike together. It made me nervous. The inevitable happen – some guy next to me crossed his front wheel with the guys in front’s back wheel, It didn’t end well for him. Luckily I managed to avoid the incident and so did quite a few people behind. I managed to settle into a steady effort on the way out of Frankston as the crowd slowly thinned. There were still lots people blatantly drafting, although I saw quite a few of them serving time in the penalty box. The two lap 45km out and back course was really good. The road surface was fantastic, it was just a slog into a fairly strong head / cross wind. The bit they don’t tell you about in the brochure, is that it is mostly uphill from Frankston to the turnaround at Ringwood. Except for the bit where you plunge down into the tunnel. Ok, so I hit the turn around and start hooking back to town with the wind now behind me going downhill. I ran out of gears a few of times clocking around 60km/hr in places. Going back into town the turnaround was packed with supporters cheering, it was awesome! All I could think about at that stage was, “I’m back”. Back out into the second lap the wind had either picked up or I was starting to fatigue (I like to think the wind had actually picked up a bit). This made it a tough slog back out to Ringwood. Surprisingly the disk on the back was good in the wind, it was the front that I struggled with all day in the cross wind. The 808 front was definitely not the best wheel for the conditions. My nutrition plan went well on the bike and I felt pretty good getting off the bike for the run.
Being only the second time I have run a marathon. I was feeling pretty good when I headed out compared to the last one. I had a plan to just sit on a steady pace for the first 20 km’s then try to hold
for the remainder. Plans are always subject to change and change it did, when I just couldn’t hold my pace after 10km’s. There was a brief moment between 30km & 32km’s where I felt like I had come good and was able to run at my goal pace. This was short lived with 10km left to survive my second Ironman race. The support was awesome along the run which kept me going through last 10km.
For those of you that are into figures here they are 1.5km swim 26:10, t1 3:03, 180km bike 5:05:54, t2 4:13, 42km run 4:29:10. Finish time 10:08:33
A huge thanks to a few people: firstly my family for help me get through another Ironman. Secondly Alex Price, for his advice and direction – basically putting the box of parts back together and doing such a great job of preparing me for this race. To the rest of the AP10 team for their support! It is the great training environment that has led to this result, thanks heaps team! And finally, to the Illawarra supporters that made the trip down you were definitely the loudest supporters out there, thanks for your support.
See you all in Melbourne for the 2014 Ironman and we’ll do it all again.